Clemson University

Emerging Opportunities for Organic Grain Production and Marketing in South Carolina

This workshop will introduce participants to market opportunities for organic grain production in the southeast and current knowledge about production practices for organic grains and inherent challenges.  The focus will be on opportunities for organic grains to supply animal feed markets, but information on specialty food grains will be included. An outstanding group of experts have been invited to share their experiences in organic grain production, research, organic certification, and marketing. Participants will have an ample opportunity to interact with the experts during a panel discussion and Q&A session.  You can find detailed information on presenters and the workshop agenda below.  

Ed Fry,  The Fry Family has been farming in Maryland for five generations. They live in Chestertown, MD on Fair Hill Farm, a dairy and grain farm with 400 acres certified organic and a milking herd of 450 cows. Ed, Univ. of MD alumni, is the 2006 Northeast Region winner of the Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Chester Riverkeeper Award.  Ed and his wife Marian were also the recipients of the 2012 Governor's Agriculture Hall of Fame award.  They are currently transitioning their farm operations to son Matt and his wife Megan's leadership.  
Chris Neff ,   Chris works as a grain merchandiser at Perdue AgriBusiness in their organic division. He works directly with organic growers to form an efficient supply line to handle their feed ingredients from the farm.  The continuing growth in the organic market has made his position essential to maintain quality feed ingredients and keep farmers informed of market trends.
Daniel Broome,   Daniel is an agronomist working with organic producers in the Carolinas with growers that use Perdue's organic fertilizer. He provides any Agronomic services farmers may need to be successful. Daniel is a graduate of Clemson University and has experience working with cotton, sweet corn, and now organic crops.
Wayne Boseman,   Wayne Boseman is Director of Operations for Braswell Foods.  Wayne is in charge of operations and ingredient purchasing for Braswell’s feed mill in Nashville NC.  He is also in charge of operations for Braswell’s egg production, processing and distribution facilities.  Braswell Foods is a fourth generation family owned feed mill and egg company.  The feed mill produces approximately 200,000 tons of conventional and organic feed each year.  They produce over 50,000 tons of organic feed each year which is used to feed organic layers for both Braswell birds and outside customers throughout the southeast. 
Mike Pratt,   Mike began work in the organic industry in 1993 working with Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) International as a certification coordinator.  Worked for OCIA for 2.5 years.  Worked afterwards for a series of four companies, buying and selling organic grains, for a total of 14 years.  Initiated independent marketing as Organic Vision in 2010, later becoming incorporated in South Carolina as Organic Vision LLC.  He has worked in the organic industry for approximately 22 years.
Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton,   Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton is Associate Professor of Organic Cropping Systems at North Carolina State University.  As an agronomist with both research and extension responsibilities, he develops recommendations for organic production of corn, soybeans and wheat.  His most recent work has been on the development of reduced tillage methods for organic crops, and plant breeding for increased weed competiveness.  
Ryan Merck,   After working for ten years with the South Carolina Botanical Garden as the nursery manager and propagator Ryan transferred to regulatory services to assume the position of program coordinator with the organic certification program for Clemson University. Ryan develops policy for the program, coordinates compliance activities with the USDA, conducts inspections of organic operations, and assists producers and handlers understand the organic regulations.  

8:30    Registration
9:00    Introduction (Dr. Geoff Zehnder, Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program)
9:10    Introduction to organic grains and objectives for the workshop (Dr. Chris-Reberg Horton, North Carolina State University)
9:30    Overview of organic grain markets in the southeast (buyer representatives will provide brief summaries of their operations and current markets)
10:25    Overview of Organic Certification (Ryan Merck, Clemson Organic Certification Program)
10:45    Break
10:55    Organic grain production at Fairhill Farm: An organic farmers' perspective. (Mr. Ed Fry, Fairhill Farms, Kent County, MD.)
11:55    Markets for organic grains: trends, challenges and opportunities. (Mr. Mike Pratt, Organic Vision, NA)
12:30    Lunch (provided)
1:30    Best management practices and input costs for southeastern organic grain production (Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton, North Carolina State University)
2:45    Organic grain panel discussion and time for Q&A
3:30    Adjourn

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 9:00am to 3:30pm

Santee Conference Center corner of Bass Drive and Bonner Avenue in Santee, South Carolina

Event Type

Conference / Forum / Symposium, Lectures / Seminars / Speakers, Workshops


College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Centers and Institutes, Cooperative Extension Service



$12 Extension/ $25 public

Contact Name:

Kelly Flynn Gilkerson

Contact Phone:

864 656-5057

Contact Email:


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